Global spam levels drop significantly after rogue ISP taken offline

Ars Technica reports that there has been a marked (albeit temporary) drop in global spam levels following the shutdown of two rogue ISPs and an international spam operation. The three takedowns have all occurred within the last six weeks and are the result of work by security researchers and network professionals.

The first ISP to be taken offline was Atrivo in September; a company that has long been the target of complaints and accusations of unethical business practices. The embattled ISP was forced offline when its only remaining uplink provider terminated all services. Then, in October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) won an injunction against spam company HerbalKing. Now details have emerged that another shady ISP, McColo, has also been taken offline thanks to the efforts of the people behind the Washington Post's Security Fix blog. According to Ars Technica, the group had been investigating McColo’s illegal activities for four months however no details of the research have been released. The group did contact the major ISPs that were providing McColo with services and shared them with incriminating information they had gathered about the ISP. The result was the service providers shutting down their service provision to McColo. The company’s website is also offline.

Although the Security Fix team is mostly keeping tight-lipped about its findings, it did release information that McColo was dealing is a number of questionable activities - including child pornography - not just spam.

It's great to see these efforts bringing results, but although there has reportedly been a significant drop in global spam numbers since these three major operations, it seems unlikely that this will remain so. Spam is like the mythical Hydra, when one head is cut off, two more grow back in its place.

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